Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

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The Impact of Rape on Male Survivors

by Samantha De Bono

Research shows that male survivors of rape are more likely than female survivors of rape, to avoid treatment or disclosure and to minimise their abuse experience, due to the following factors:

1. The belief that men are not victims and, if they are, that they are less traumatised by the victimising experience than a woman.

2. Minimisation of the experience, due to the belief that victimisation by a male reflects their own sexual orientation and/or sexual activity with an older woman would be seen as a privilege by others.

3. Shame-based personality dynamics based on their own perceived failure to protect themselves or to achieve appropriate revenge against the offender.

4. Exaggerated effects to reassert masculine identity in an attempt to compensate for the failure to protect themselves.

5. Difficulties with male identity resulting in the avoidance of any behaviour perceived as feminine, including emotional intimacy with other males.

6. Confusion about sexual identity due to their perceived passivity or sexual arousal experienced during same-sex abuse.

7. Behaviour patterns with power/control dynamics due to attempts to overcompensate for the powerlessness experienced during the abuse.

8. Externalisation of feelings due to social prescriptions that males can act on, but not express, their feelings.

9. Vulnerability to compulsive behaviours due to attempts to deny feelings by excessive involvement with 'product and/or task' orientated activities.

10. A need to manage unusual feelings, to make sense of events and involve practical solutions.

As many as 1 in 5 adult rape victims are male. Finally the legal system and support services are beginning to recognise that this crime does happen – not just in prisons, but anywhere!

If you are a male survivor of rape, there are people you can talk to. Counselling is a safe, confidential place where you will not be judged. You will not be told what to do, it will just help you to deal with the questions and fears that this trauma has caused. You are not weak, you did not ask for it, you are not necessarily homosexual and if you are gay, it does not give any individual the right to abuse you.

You can move on from this and there is a life for you following this trauma. Rape cannot be forgotten by the survivor, but you can learn to live alongside it. Pretending that it didn't happen isn't advisable, because the likelihood is that it will affect relationships and other areas of your life. Understanding why people rape others can help to take away the control it has over you, which can lead to living a normal, happy life again.